Sunday, March 20, 2005

[ Ass ] ignment

Due to my prcrastinating behaviour, I now have tons of work to do. I have just completed my C++ assignments and there is one statistics assignment to go. Besides, the macroeconomics textbook needs to be perused. So much work, and it's already the end of the weekend.

I am too lazy to recollect what happened for the past few days (weeks?), given such massive workload quandary. But I need to tell everyone I am fine here. The hostel I am staying in is great and homely, so I really hope I can stay here until the end. Dinner gets a little repetitive, it's always either potatoes or rice plus a couple of condiments. Lunch is better and there are more variety. Kebabs, fish and chips, pies, and barbacue to name a few.

Well, since I am lazy to think, I will just describe the situation over here. It is now autumn and the whether is getting cold. I now wear a jacket to go out. Leaves have started to turn yellow and they are all over the place. The path from my college to the university stretches across an expanse of green grass that is now partially blanketed by the fallen leaves. Breathtaking.

There are many kind of birds here. Parrots abound and there are many types as well. The common ones are silver-crested cockatoo, galah and lorikeet. They are very pretty birds, although the cockatoos make a hell of noise. There are magpies, and they are known to attack people during their breeding season as they become protective. Cranes can also be spotted at random. Some are also emus in the forest beside my university. I chanced upon a couple of wallabies there as well! In the city, especially for areas by th sea the Australian silver seagulls are in adundance. Try throwing a piece of bread and a flock of them will be fighting for it! Bird droppings are everywhere!

Alritee, I think I have enough break. Time to work!

I will post photos soon!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Mardi Gras

On Saturday 5th of March evening, people from all strata of society flocked to the city of Sydney for a very interesting event. Yup, it's the 2005 Sydney Mardi Gras! For those who are unfamiliar, Mardi Gras is an festival staged by the LGBTs (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgenders) and also a demonstration of freedom and equal treatment. We (Lee Yoong, Hui Hoong and I) had no plan for that weekend, so we took the opportunity to experience the parade held that night. It would also be our first visit to the city at night.

As planned, we gathered t 5.00 pm to take the bus to Queen Victoria Building (QVB). There was a group of people I had not met before, but we later got acquainted. We arrived at QVB after 45 minutes of bus ride. After the delay caused by some confusion over the place to dine (which is a norm if you go out in group) we walked to Chinatown to have dinner. Yeah, Chinese food finally! So we began to scan the menu for spicy food! It was a hearty meal, but definitely not a match to the food at home.

It was about 7.45pm when we got to Oxford Street, the place where the parade would begin. We had to stand at the back because the roadsides were all packed to the brim. Some even resorted to climbing trees to get better view! Then the parade started!

The parade kicked off with paraders carrying the flags of countries that condemn homosexuality and such. Yes, I could spot the Malaysian flag amongst them! Then, more and more contingents emerged, all with different style and theme. The themes were witty, often associated with the organization they represented, but some featured mundane issues such as AIDS and the environment. Bright, ornate floats, scantily-clad paraders with their well-choreographed moves (but some just went about having fun), and the excited crowd transformed the street to a sea of colours. Towards the end, the sky was illuminated with the glitter of fireworks, but most people (myslef included) were just too busy watching the parade. The Mardi Gras parade came to a closure after the last contingent marched past. All the pomp and gaiety subsided, but love was in the air, as homosexual couples in the crowd started kissing. That concluded one of the most fabulous events in Sydney and the experience in the public event is surely not the same as the previous tours around the city. It was a time well spent and trip worth making.

Free Image Hosting at Free Image Hosting at
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Unfortunately, I did not have many good pictures of the event. This was because I stood at the back in the begining (after some jostling, I ended up at the front, but that was almost at the end) and my camera was not good at taking night shots. Nevertheless, enjoy!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Circular Quay

After serious planning and discussion via MSN and the phone with the guys at University of New South Wales(UNSW), we arranged to meet at the Circular Quay. So on Saturday, 27th of Feb Hui Hoong, Lee Yoong and I went to the bus stop at Macquarie Center. To our dismay, the bus would only come about one hour later. To kill time, we went loitering in Macquarie Center. It was a big mall with a confusing layout and I was lost in there once. With my nonexistent sense of direction, I just couldn't find the way out! Anyway, we bought a Travel Ten, which will save each of us about 60 cents every trip to the city by bus. The bus arrived according to schedule and we were off to the Circular Quay!

The Circular Quy was buzzing with activity. Street performers, throngs of tourists and the locals, all contribute a fair share to the atmosphere! The weather was nice, although it was a little cloudy. Well, it is called the Circular Quay because it was kind of circular before the extention of the coastlines took place. Cheok Quen, Heng Liang and Raymond arrived a few minutes after we did. We then walked to the Sydney Opera House and along the way, we could also see the Harbour Bridge stretching majestically some distances away. The Opera House is just a stone's throw away form the quay. Nothing much at the Opera House, actually. Just the feeling of having been to the most famost Australian landmark. I personally feel the Harbour Bridge is more monumental and impressive. But good opportunity to take photos for memory's sake as well as to show off. Heheh

Then, we walked around the botanic garden just beside the Opera House. After the walk, we were all hungry and stopped for some sandwiches. Later, we went to the Muzeum of Contemporary Arts. I know nuts about it ( I am sure the rest are also the same, hehe) but hey, the admission is free! So a platoon of artistic people (us lah!) marched and marvelled at the artworks in display. There were two exhibitions, one by Lee Bul, a Korean artist and Bridget Riley, a British. Lee Bul's works are cool. Most are sculptures of monsters/cyborgs/robots in their horrific state - body parts torn to pieces, missing limbs, you get the idea. As for Riley's her artworks are supposed to reflect the manipulation of colours, but I just don't see it. Haha. For me, everything is just either 'nice' or 'not nice'. After getting enough doses of art, the group of artsy-fartsy people stepped out of the complex. Then, it was time to say goodbye before we returned to our hostels. Cheok Quen and the guys returned to their accomodation at Malaysian Hall. I have just heard from CQ that they have found a house and now in the process of moving out. Hoorah!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Update (1)

So it's been two weeks, and I've finally got time to sit back and recollect. Lets start with my hostel. I stay in Robert Menzies College, which is just a five-minute walk to the university and 45 minutes of bus ride to the city. Here's the address:

Robert Menizes College,
136 Herring Road,
North Ryde,
NSW 2113,

This is a Christian college, but it is filled by students from all religions and races. Hence, alcohol is not allowed, which I feel is a good thing. They provide 3 meals a day here, so I dont have to worry about food. The food here has been good, although I am missing chillies already. What I like most about this place is the people here is really nice. Although many stay here, we almost know each other. The orientation week here started as I arrived. It's an opportunity to get to know people staying here. Due to financial constraint, I did not join some of their activities such as those held at the city, the harbour cruise, and pub crawl. At the last day of orientation, we were all shown the pictures taken throughout the whole week. Man, were the activities crazy! Those worth highlighting were swimming in a fountain at the city, guys shopping for women clothes (most clothes were just too tiny, so they ended up at the maternity section!), and taking nude shots at the beach. Also, at the harbour cruise, those who went had to cross-dress! And all of them took public bus there! I wish I had the chance to experience it. Or maybe not. Eheh.

Anyway, to make up for those, we organized our own orientation to the city. On Wednesday, 23rd of Feb (my third day in Sydney), Lee Yoong, Hui Hoong, Sheng Chieh (a girl from Taylor's College, whom just knew), Han Wei (the guide) and I took a bus at Macquarie Center, the huge shopping mall located just opposite. We got down at Queen Victoria Building (QVB). It's a beautiful shopping mall with old architecture. This type of mall is quite common here, as I soon discovered. From there, it was a walk to Chinatown. Chinatown is not that big, but like the one in Malaysia, you can find pirated CDs here. Heheh. But the pirated CDs here are very carefully made, and their covers are just like the original ones. After eating our packed lunch in a pagoda (it is actually just a shed) , we headed to Darling Harbour. It was quite a long walk, but there are many sights to behold along the way. Darling Harbour was teemed with people, as there are many restaurants and clubs. There were many ships, vessels, sails, and there was even a submarine! It belongs to the Maritime Muzeum, and those who want to get in must pay. But I was contented by just watching from outside. Our next destination was Star City, the casino. It was my first time in a casino and it was a great experience. It was a place where one can quickly get big money and just as quickly, lost them all! After Star City, there was a hiatus as we tired to figure out what to do next. In the end, we just decided to return to our respective hostels for dinner.

I have uploaded some pictures. Sorry folks, I cant upload all of them; it's just too expensive to do so.
For departure pictures, click here
For hostel pictures, click here
For pictures of the first city visit, click here

Next: 2nd Trip to the City and more. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 04, 2005


Definition: A period of reduced economic activity

Economic terms like recession and rapid inflation just can't stop dancing and prancing at the back of my mind. No no no, not because of the macroeconomic lecture yesterday. What I mean is, everything here just screams EXPENSIVE!

Lets start with my Optus Prepaid. It costs 37 cents per 30 seconds. Well, I get 300 minutes of free calls to Optus, but it is still a very high. I have been using it for only a week or so, and my remaining credit is 12 dollars! That's 18 dollars per week! I rarely make any calls and send text messages, so this amonut is gargantuan, unreasonable and insane!

Next, the broadband at my college. Unlike some lucky sods out there who have unlimited access, my college charges 25 dollars for a mere 200MB! To reduce the bandwidth consumption, I sometimes disable "show images" at the Internet Explorer option. Hehe, Chang Yang taught me this. But hey, I am not the only one. Many times when I use the computer at the computer room, the option has already been disabled! So, there are many cheapskates at this college as well. Maybe I had it too easy back at Malaysia with Streamyx, but it is just too costly even at Australian standards. Hell, even wireless here costs less.

Thirdly, textbooks. For this semester alone, their costs amount to 400 dollars! Those bloodthirsty publishers are just too fond of printing new edition each year, so buying used books is not an option for some units. Plus JPA only provides slightly more than 100 dollars per year for book allowance. That can't even cover the cost if I am to buy all second- hand books for one semester.

And finally, everything else. I know I shouldn't convert to Malaysian Ringgit, but I just can't help it at this stage. I missed a number of activities at the orientation just to save some money. I am thinking of getting a part time job in future. The pay in Sydney is decent. Hmm. I can live a more interesting life then. Oh, wait... JPA doesn't allow me to work. Huhuhuhu.